SEL Financial Sustainability Planning Tool

Congratulations! If you are visiting this page, you have decided to begin planning your districtwide SEL implementation. Hopefully, you have familiarized yourself with the case studies, the lessons learned, and have reviewed at least a couple of the six-year budgets from the districts in the Financial Sustainability Study.

This five-step tool will help district leaders and planning teams incorporate financial sustainability in planning and implementing districtwide social and emotional learning (SEL).

The primary purposes of this tool are to:

  • Facilitate discussions that help you identify your vision and desired outcomes for systematic and systemic SEL.
  • Guide a district team in the development of a multiyear implementation plan and budget to meet the vision and outcomes.
  • Iteratively analyze and adjust district strategies and the SEL implementation budget to increase the probability of long-term SEL sustainability.

Instructions: The five steps that comprise this tool are sequential. However, whether a district or school leadership team begins with Step 1 will vary based on where they are in their planning and implementation of SEL. Each step contains a set of key questions and activities; the outcomes of each are the inputs for the next step. When you have completed Step 3, you should have an understanding of the costs and financial tradeoffs of different implementation strategies. Steps 4 and 5 will help you to draft a budget including expenditures and funding sources based upon the earlier steps and to iteratively adjust the plan and the budget to yield an SEL implementation which is financially sustainable over the long term.

It is recommended that a skilled facilitator familiar with systemic SEL guides the use of this tool with a leadership team of four to seven planners. Times are provided for each tool. The low end time is for a small team that has already been planning the SEL implementation. Teams that are just starting to look into SEL implementation will likely need the full amount of time or more to complete each step.

The tool is designed to be used electronically—that is, users can complete the five steps of the tool on any computer using Microsoft Word and Excel, or other compatible software. You are urged to save your Word and Excel documents when you first download the documents, and frequently as you use them. All of the forms and tables will expand automatically to accommodate your typed responses.

Begin your work with Step 1. Here are links to all the steps as well as to the Excel SEL Budgeting Tool referred to in Steps 4 & 5.

Step 1: Strengths and Needs Inventory: Vision, Priority, and SEL Alignment

Step 2: Identify SEL Outcomes and Strategies

Step 3: Analyze SEL Implementation Strategies

Step 4: Build the SEL Implementation Expenses Budget

Step 5: Identify Funding Strategy and Sources

SEL Budgeting Tool (Excel spreadsheet template used in Steps 4 & 5 above)

It is highly recommended that teams consider this tool to be just one part of planning for a districtwide SEL implementation. There is no substitute for high quality SEL professional development and solid experience with SEL for those planning a districtwide SEL implementation. The focus of this tool is on building a financially sustainable districtwide implementation model. Teams are advised to review the resources and links provided on the CASEL SEL Financial Sustainability Website and the wealth of resources on the CASEL website.

We at CASEL are interested in your feedback on this tool. Please click here to take a survey regarding your use of this tool. It will take 5-10 minutes, and your input will help us in refining this tool and in the development of further on-line tools.